Much has been made about the Seattle Seahawks defense, and deservedly so.
The Emerald City has boasted the No. 1 defense in the NFL this season. They have had playmakers at every position play critical roles.
However, in the most important game of the year, cornerback Richard Sherman will be feeling the pressure, and he has to respond in a big way for the ‘Hawks to win.
He will lead his team to Georgia and visit the No. 1 seed Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at 1 PM. E.T on FOX.
If they win, then Pete Carroll and company are headed to the NFC Championship game, but if they lose, then they most endure the longest plane ride ever.
There will be 11 defensive players out on the field for Seattle on every play.
But, no one will be more crucial than Sherman. His team needs a big performance from the two-year veteran.
The path to victory lies on his more-than-capable shoulders. He will be more critical than any other defender. Sherman has to have a big game.
Because the key to an Atlanta win is to get the passing game going. With a trifecta of receivers in Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez, it will not be difficult.
Sherman has to make it difficult.
I’m not here to argue about the outspoken, eccentric player and his off-field antics. I’m here to say that he has to back up that talk by shutting down White.
It won’t be easy, as White has put up 1,351 yards and seven touchdowns on 92 receptions this year. He has dominated opposing corners and made Matt Ryan a happy camper.
Sherman must make Ryan feel like he has been trapped inside his tent with a brown bear clawing at the zipper, getting more and more upset because he can smell the meat, but just can’t have Ryan.
In short, Sherman has to make Matt Ryan an unhappy camper.
The Stanford product is more than capable of doing that.
His eight interceptions are second only to Tim Jennings. In addition, he has racked up 52 tackles and 24 passes defended.
He has a 54.1 EPA on the year, third in the NFL behind the two Chicago Bears corners. EPA (Expected Points Added) is an advanced stat that is the measure of a player’s impact on the score of the game.
Opposing quarterbacks have been averaging zero touchdowns against Sherman, with only a 43.1 quarterback rating. He has held those signal-callers to just a 50 percent completion rate.
There is no doubt that Sherman is one of the better corners in the league.
However, he has to bring his “A” game to Atlanta and shut down Roddy White.
If he does, then the Falcons offense will slowly crumble and the Seahawks could escape with a victory. But if he falters, Matty Ice could nab his first playoff victory.
No defensive player is more important for Seattle than Richard Sherman.